2020 was a year of tectonic change in digital marketing, and the massive growth in online shopping continues to drive e-commerce brands to beat out competitors on customer experience alone.
Recently Payal Hindocha, Vertical Product Marketing Manager at Emarsys spoke with Arron Kooner, Head of Customer Communications at Lounge Underwear. The online clothing company is growing fast — sales are up 250% YoY so far in 2021 — and engaging communications is a central part of their strategy.
Relevant Content and Communications
As many brands learned in the last year, consumers rely on online shopping when traditional stores and services are closed or limited. The key for brands is a strong web experience founded on personalization. There’s little excuse for sending irrelevant messages, unnecessary discounts, or recommending products a customer has never shown interest in.
Lounge Underwear has focused deeply on this across multiple channels:
“I think that it’s a combination across the brand that we work towards to retain these customers. It’s not like one department is in charge of retaining them — it’s a combination of everything we do as a business. So that will go from everything from our brand team — so the content we’re putting out, how we’re connecting, how we’re communicating with our customers, and building that rapport from that — from the content you see on Instagram, on YouTube, and our various social media platforms.”
Plugging It All into the Customer Experience
Since great personalization is the key to a great customer experience, the most successful e-commerce brands have leveraged all the data they collected in 2020 to provide that great experience. But there’s a lot to orchestrate to seamlessly pull that experience off.
“We have a brilliant digital marketing team here who do a lot of the paid media that we do and how we target the customers through that and retargeting customers. It goes all the way through to our customer experience. We’re not shy about it. We want to be one of the biggest brands in the world, and to do that, we need to give the best experience in each department, but especially when it comes to customer experience.”
Customer-First Tech to Drive the Whole Thing
The tech stack is the physical backbone of your brand’s shopping experience — but to drive engagement long-term, not just any tech will suffice. It must take all the data your brand generates at every touchpoint, place it in a single platform accessible to the entire brand, and glean the important behaviors and trends to always deliver that relevant shopping experience.
Implementing new tech is no easy job — that’s why many companies put it off — but Lounge Underwear understands the value of a machine learning solution running constantly in the background, because real-time data analysis gives a brand agility and speed in serving the individual customer just what she wants.
“When we partnered with Emarsys, one of the things that we were really drawn to was the ability for the platform to showcase data in a really clean and productive way. We can easily see our customers and the lifecycles they’re in for different territories. And it also gives us insight as to how we can target these people in the future, whether that’s kind of targeting customers with retention-based campaigns for email, SMS, or generally to segmenting customers and allowing us then to target them on our various marketing initiatives that we have with that digital page, etc.”
More Customers, More Engagement
Having the right tech and the right engagement strategy allows you to make the most of any opportunity to attract new customers (at a 350% increase in 2020 for Lounge Underwear) or draw existing customers back.
During Black Friday 2020, Lounge Underwear put their customer data to work and knew the typical journey a returning customer would make:
“We use our data to really understand where our customers are in their lifecycle. So, for example, a returning customer, their journey towards a peak period like Black Friday would be slightly different than a customer who hasn’t purchased before. And we may know, for example, the types of products that a customer has already purchased, shown an affinity for, viewed our website, for example. And we can then kind of tailor our ads and give them bespoke marketing. Chances are they’re more likely to repurchase again. We know who they are. We know their profile. So we can kind of target them a bit better.”
The online boom of 2020 also brought waves of new customers to Lounge Underwear and, with it, the data needed to engage these first-timers to come back.
“With new customers, it’s kind of a similar strategy. So we may not necessarily know what they purchased in the past, but we’ll have an idea from online what they’re viewing, things that they may have signed up for on our preference center to give us an idea of what kind of things they’re looking for and for us to target them and really give them what they want.”
Success comes from customer-obsessed organizations that connect the entire operation to data. Every process, from your front office to your back office, strings together the customer experience and gives the brand that single view of the customer.
For Lounge Underwear, all the data they collected went right into the operations, allowing them to make sure everything in the back end (warehouse to distribution) guides their engagement strategies and ensures they can meet changes in customer demand.
In 2020, the majority of growth came from existing clients, but now with a glut of new customers engaging with brands, it would be wise to focus on getting those first-timers to repeat purchase.
What’s your plan for 2021?
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